Institut für Rechtsmedizin

Laufende Projekte

"Multidisciplinary research approach to the Swiss Oberbipp dolmen in the context of the Neolithic revolution in Central Europe“


Dr. Sandra Lösch, Anthropologie, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Universität Bern


Dr. Sandra Lösch, Anthropologie, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Universität Bern
Inga Siebke, Anthropologie, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Universität Bern,
Prof. Dr. Albert Hafner, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Prähistorische Archäologie, Universität Bern
Prof. Dr. Johannes Krause, Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte, Jena


Förderinstitution: Schweizerischer Nationalfond (Projekt-Nr. CR31I3L_157024)
Förderungsdauer: 01.10.2015 – 30.09.2018
Förderbeitrag: CHF 283'249.-


In this project the unique 5500-5000 year old Swiss dolmen burial from Oberbipp will be used for a multidisciplinary study in order to gain insights into the genetic structure, cultural practices and life history of this Neolithic early farming population. The application of technologies such as stable isotope research or genome-wide next generation DNA sequencing will be combined with a detailed archaeological site study in an empiric cross-over between natural sciences and humanities.

Stable isotopes of the elements carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, hydrogen, oxygen, strontium and lead will shed light on details of the life history, e.g. nutrition and migration patterns, of the Oberbipp individuals. Ancient DNA will be used to determine kinship among the individuals of this particular Neolithic group as well as genetic relationship to other ancient and modern European populations. Genetic data can also be used to detect human pathogens in this ancient population and confirm paleopathologies observed in the skeletal morphology. Ancient DNA will also allow to reconstruct phenotypic traits such as the ability to digest milk or starch or eye, skin and hair pigmentation of those early farmers buried at the Oberbipp site. Classical anthropological analysis will provide further indications for the life history and health status. The archaeological context of burials in Switzerland, Eastern France and Southwestern Germany will weave the Oberbipp population into a supra-regional framework of time and space.

The results will be assessed in the context of other contemporary European archaeological sites in order to understand the biological and cultural relationship of Neolithic populations and the influence of genetic admixture on the population structure of modern European populations. The reconstruction of life history, phenotype and ancestry of the Oberbipp individuals will furthermore generate public outreach.

Jungsteinzeitlicher Dolmen von Oberbipp (Kt. Bern) mit rund 30 Bestattungen